Community Greenhouse Gas Inventories

Led by Prof. Mary Ann Cunningham with assistance from Jennifer Rubbo, Director of the Environmental Cooperative at Vassar Barns, Vassar’s introductory Environmental Science class completed preliminary assessments of community-level greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration for several communities in New York’s mid-Hudson River valley during the Fall semester 2020: City of Poughkeepsie, Town of Poughkeepsie, Town of Pleasant Valley, Town of Wappinger, Town of Unionvale, and Town of Lloyd. Reports and slide presentations for the above-mentioned communities are available for download. Please view the introductory slides before proceeding to the individual community assessments.

These assessments were completed to align with the New York State Climate Smart Communities checklist, PE2 Action: Community GHG Inventory. We also assessed estimated carbon sequestration in forests and other land use types, a measure that can help plan for conservation of carbon storage in the landscape. We hope this work will be useful for communities as they develop resources for climate smart community planning, and a potential catalyst for a refined inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. This was a fantastic learning experience for our students and we hope our results will be of interest to communities working toward CSC certification.

Acknowledgements

This work was inspired and guided by the Philipstown GHG Assessment report. Their Community GHG assessment report, available at climatesmartphilipstown.org, has been noted as a precedent-setting effort in community-level climate smart planning. Our much smaller efforts benefitted from the detailed documentation provided by the Philipstown report. We are grateful to Jason Angell (a Vassar College alum), Jocelyn Apicello, and other members of Climate Smart Philipstown for providing a model for us to follow. Throughout our presentations, we refer frequently to material that we have adopted directly from their work, especially multipliers used to translate consumption into tons of CO2 equivalent.

We also recognize that many communities, organizations, and agencies have contributed to the development of community GHG assessments. We are grateful for the many other individuals, agencies, organizations, and communities that have informed our work. Some of these are noted on the last of these introductory slides.